Getting up close and personal with our great county
Take a closer look
Northumberland is famed for its wild backdrop and dramatic landscapes - agricultural coastal plains in the east, rugged hills and moors in the west and urban and industrial areas in the south. It is unquestionably one of the most stunning and fascinating places to live in the UK with an abundance of wildlife, culture and history that’s sometimes taken for granted – what do you mean not everyone has a Hogwarts?!
However, we’re all so used to the convenience of the car that how much do we notice the world rushing past through the window? Changing gear and being more present by walking or cycling instead of driving where we can means we can slow down and appreciate our surroundings far more… and what surroundings they are!
Try our FREE guided meditation podcasts >>>
Slow down and take your time to notice the world around you while you are out walking. This series of podcasts had been created to help you make that gear change in your life to help reduce stress and increase your sense of wellbeing.
In each episode, Amanda from Cygnus Mental Health will take you through the meditation which includes bringing awareness to your breathing and walking, something we do every day but often don't think about. We hope the themes remind you of the beautiful county we live in and bring a sense of peace to your day.
Wherever you live in Northumberland, be it a big town or a tiny hamlet, it has secrets hiding in plain sight waiting to be discovered on foot or by peddle.
The Romans tend to hog the limelight in Northumberland’s history, but the Anglo Saxons, Danish invaders, and Normans and their history of border warfare has left us plenty to discover including more castles than anywhere else in England. Add to that a centuries of trading wool, metal and coal and there are plenty of ingredients for a history lesson right on your doorstep.
Seeing the seasons
When you leave the comfort of your car, you can appreciate the seasons far more.
Rushing around in the car, weeks can quickly blend into months and months into years. Before you know it it's time to put the Christmas decorations up again and you might have missed some of Northumberland's seasonal splendour. By making a conscious effort to slow down and make more trips on foot or by bike you take in more of your surroundings and your sense of time can alter. It's difficult to notice all the subtleties of summer at 30mph - but at 3mph you can literally stop and smell the roses!
Our challenge to you for 2021 (and beyond) is to change gear and become the seasons' biggest fan. Send your pictures to BNGC@northumberland.gov.uk or try our seasonal scavenger hunts below.
Ideas for discovering more
When you leave the car at home, the world can open up in many new ways. Here are some ideas on how to discover more about where you live whilst out walking and cycling.
See how many different types of birds you can hear or see – it’s amazing how many more you notice when you start looking and listening. The RSPB has a great Bird Identifier Tool to help separate your chaffinches from your chiffchaffs.
Get blue plaque and street name hunting – take a note of blue plaques and interesting and unusual street names and investigate their history. Did you know Blyth has their very own brand new Blue Plaque trail?
Become a cloud expert - we’ve certainly got plenty of clouds in Northumberland, so instead of moaning about the grey ones, impress your friends by learning you cirrus from your cumulus. Use the Met Office Cloud Spotting Guide to get started.
Northumberland is constantly changing - from fading painted signs on the side of a buildings to that odd metal chain sticking out of the wall, there are clues to our county’s past all around us. See what you can find and investigate their origins.
Join a big route
Did you know that Northumberland has some major scenic cycle routes cutting through it including the Pennine Cycleway and Hadrian's Cycleway? You don't have to do the whole trail to enjoy it, so why not consider hopping on a part of the route to try something new. Find our more at Visit Northumberland.
OK, so we've left the most obvious idea until last - but with more castles than anywhere else in Englan, you can't go for a walk in Northumberland without being close to one - so why not see if you can work your way around all 70.
Shopping local and discovering Northumberland's markets
Northumberland is home to a cornucopia of fantastic independent shops and markets making our towns and villages burst with character in a world increasingly dominated by chain retailers and out of town superstores.
Reducing car trips and choosing to support our region's army of friendly shopkeepers and market traders benefits more than just the individual. Research shows that £10 spent with a local independent shop means up to an additional £50 goes back into the local economy.
We're a region famed for our amazing local produce, therefore shopping locally reduces food miles travelled AND gives you access to some of the country's finest food and drink. It also supports tradition and innovation in equal measure and it creates jobs - what's not to love!